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Ex-NATO chief urges lethal weapons for Ukraine

Rasmussen says Ukraine must be given status of a major non-NATO ally (MNNA).

Ex-NATO chief urges lethal weapons for Ukraine
Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says it is the time for the NATO allies, and especially for the United States, to provide Ukraine with defensive lethal weapons.

"This will have an effect of deterrence against the armed forces supported by Russia," Rasmussen told Ukrinform.

"I have also defended the position that the United States should granted Ukraine a special status, the so-called major non-NATO ally (MNNA). This does not provide security guarantees for Ukraine, but will provide potential access to certain types of weapons, and, most importantly, it will become a powerful signal to Russia about Washington's obligations towards Ukraine," Rasmussen stressed.

According to the former secretary general, giving MNNA will also mean the support of Ukraine's membership in NATO on the part of Washington and the absence of alternatives for this prospect.

Rasmussen also said that it is necessary to involve the US in the "Normandy format" talks.

"'Minsk' is the best format for keeping Putin at the negotiating table. However, I am sceptical that Moscow views Minsk as a real tool to resolve the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Rather, it is the path for the approval of Russian supporters in the region. I am convinced that the best option is to preserve the Norman partners, but also with the involvement of the US in the talks. There must be a clear vision of what achievements should be and when," he concluded.

As previously reported today, Ukraine asked the US to join the "Normandy format".

The issue of expansion of the Normandy Four (Ukraine, Russia, Germany, France) has been repeatedly raised at various levels. The most popular proposal is to include the United States and Great Britain as the guarantors of Ukraine's security under the Budapest Memorandum. Poland also expressed the desire to join the talks, but this proposal was blocked by Russia in 2014.

The main problem the Normandy format is the lack of significant progress in the peaceful settlement.